Credit Where Credit is Due. Book Review: Stars of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Highway by Victoria Micklish Pasmore

 “In the early days of Sun Records, Phillips said, “If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and Negro feel, I could make a million bucks.” In 1954, he found that man: Elvis Presley.” 

I think she unintentionally described one of the biggest examples of cultural appropriation in our society. We all know this, but it’s not always laid out so specifically. In other words, we can’t market the black man, so let’s just take something from him and we’ll make a million bucks off of it. And history goes on.

How often does this repeat itself in history? A minority spends a lifetime creating something and the white man steals it from him to make himself rich. Or someone who isn’t greedy creates something for its beauty to share with the world, and someone greedy comes along and steals it because he figures out how to monetize it. It’s criminal.

Who got rich from Henrietta Lacks’s cancer cells? Not her or her family. Who gets rich from the sale of land all over the world? Not the indigenous peoples who first lived on it.

Weird that I picked up this in a book written for a younger crowd.

And would I have thought about it if that quote wasn’t there?

There is a brief biography and some little-known facts on each. It’s just interesting that this book talks about where the music originally came from then kind of skips over that part of its history.

And it’s interesting to me that everyone knows who the king of rock and roll is, but very few know who the queen is. (Wanda Jackson, BTW.)

“It is interesting to note that many of today’s rock ’n’ roll greats give credit to the early rockabilly artists as their musical inspiration.”

I think it’s interesting to note that this doesn’t say they give credit to the people who created the sound, but the first people to get rich and famous from it.

I think that’s what makes me saddest about this book. Is it really giving credit where credit is due??

A few other things I noticed about the book:

I wonder why some of the pictures are drawn. Could they not get permission to print them?

I notice they leave out anything negative about the artists. (Is that the real reason Jerry Lee Lewis is nicknamed “the Killer”?)

But it has some interesting info on these people who were important in the formative days of rock ‘n roll.

Thanks to NetGalley, Plum Street Publishers, and IBPA for a copy in return for an honest review. 


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